Elk Grove mayor recovering from heart surgery
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Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson is recovering from a double-bypass heart surgery recommended by doctors after a stress test found abnormalities around his heart.
An avid cyclist, the 54-year-old mayor said from home Wednesday he felt pain and discomfort in his abdominal region recently while training on a stationary bike in his basement.
Johnson said he remembers first feeling pain on a training ride last May. Since then, he said his wife has been “on my back to get it checked.”
Johnson visited his doctor, who encouraged him to take the stress test. Additional testing found one of Johnson’s arteries was “almost entirely blocked,” he said.
“It was the widow maker — the big one,” he said.
Doctors at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village performed the surgery Feb. 17. Johnson returned home Monday.
Johnson said his doctors told him he is in good health since he is constantly working out, has low cholesterol, doesn’t drink or smoke and doesn’t have family history of heart disease.
After the surgery, Johnson said his doctor told him, “This is usually the time I say drop 30 pounds and stop drinking, but you do all that.”
Doctors have told Johnson to take it easy at home, so for now, he’s not going to be at village hall or his company, Johnson Insurance Agency. But he says he’s still working and even was talking business with village staff members at his hospital bedside the day after surgery.
In June 2010, Johnson was severely injured in a biking accident when his front tire clipped the back tire of a cyclist ahead of him. He was thrown to the ground and struck his head on the pavement, causing a concussion, a punctured lung, a broken collar bone, five broken ribs, a muscle tear in his hip joint and numerous scrapes and cuts.
At Tuesday night’s village board meeting, Village Trustee James Petri read a village news release about Johnson’s health scare. It was the first village board meeting Johnson missed in his 17-year tenure as mayor — a run he compared to the 17-year streak of continuous games played by baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
“I tell people I’m the Cal Ripken of mayors,” Johnson said. “I’ve never missed a meeting in 17 years. It’s why I was still thinking of going (Tuesday night). But I heeded Mrs. Johnson’s advice. It wasn’t even open for discussion.”
Johnson watched the meeting from home on Channel 6, the village’s municipal programming cable channel. He says his goal is to be at the next village board meeting March 11.
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